Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Shopping - Ready, Set, Go!

Ah, the Holiday shopping has begun! As some of you know, December brings to our family not only the need for Christmas shopping, but shopping for Wife's Dec. 15th Birthday, too! I have picked up a couple things online, as that is the easiest way to shop, given my schedule. Today, however, I made it to a mall, as a slight detour on my way to go study. The mall was filled with Holiday sights, sounds and smells - and LOTS of sale signs. I did not stay too long - but I wanted to! I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I enjoy it when I am in the mood, and when the kids are not around to have to coral :) Between the online items that have arrived and the purchases from today, well, I didn't exactly need a set of movers New York to help me, but my hatchback area was looking quite full - and not just from my backpack and misc. books that live back there!

Those that claim to know are predicting snow for Saturday afternoon, but Wife and I have planned a really special Date Night of shopping and eating, so we'd just as soon the snow didn't come until Sunday morning. Might as well shop when the mood strikes! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The L Word - Season 5

OK - now here is some good news that does not make me think of finals!

Just 39 days until Season 5 of The L Word starts! I thought I was going to be clever and put up a countdown widget, but it wouldn't work. Oh, well. Still, it's a happy thought.

December? Really?

Wow - are we really almost into December?
How did that happen? Yes, it has been a busy, and long, semester, but DECEMBER? No way! Already time for Santa, Christmas shopping, Christmas carols, sweet treats everywhere, pretty lights, decorated hearths, trees, kitchens and bathroom vanities? (Some of us REALLY get into decorating. Though I admit, it's not me in our house - I love it, but don't have the time or patience to do it myself. Yeah Wife!)

For most of us law students, I think we are struggling with the idea of turning in papers and getting through finals, and can barely grasp that it is almost Christmas time. We look at each other, shake our heads with disbelief, and tell each other that finals don't really exist. They are just a made up thing to torture us, like the Boogey Man. Right. That's it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Does Size Matter?

Our largest TV is a 19" and we also have a 13". I don't mean to imply we are not TV people. We are. Maybe more so than we should be. Still, ours look positively pathetic compared to Wife's brother's massive flat panel TVs. Perhaps we are not showing enough dedication by sticking with the smaller models. On the other hand, they are the largest that fit in their selected spaces in our home. What are you going to do?

The big screen TVs are nice, but I must admit I am bothered by the distortion. Sometimes people that are thought to be quite attractive - say anyone from Grays Anatomy or Private Practice, don't look so great THAT close up, and slightly broadened. Noses do not need to be 4" wide. Still, it was fun, and the surround sound is a nice treat....if only he had home theater carpet, rather than hardwood floors, we would have been set! Oh, and popcorn. A screen that big definitely cries out for popcorn :)

After Thanksgiving Follow-Up

Back from Thanksgiving and into the last two weeks of class before finals. Wow! What a busy semester (as opposed to all of those really slow ones?)! Speaking of Thanksgiving, I can't believe how much stuff a family of four has to pack to go visiting. We've each got a bag, plus misc. snack bags,diapers (which someone is all but refusing to wear and is doing pretty well at being "a big girl"), a container of toys, misc. toys, a bag for all the various bathroom and drug supplies..etc. We had so many cold remedies and pain medications with us this time it looked like someone was in need of drug rehab. Crazy!

Update on Wife's arm - after a Saturday visit to a walk-in clinic which included an X-ray, it looked as if all the pain was muscle trauma and muscle spasms. That was a relief, and the pain was much better Saturday night than the previous night. *Whew* Each day has been a bit better, for which we are all very grateful. Yesterday, Wife got a call from the medical provider...."Uh, looks like there might be a fracture of the elbow head.(I think that was the term.) Splint it and go back for another X-ray in a week." Sure - we'll just go pick up that do-it-yourself splint kit and get right on that. The pain is so much better, Wife doesn't really believe there is anything wrong, so she'll just take it easy, no heavy lifting, and hope for the best. At least a major fracture requiring a cast was avoided. Yippee!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Crazy Saturday

It is Saturday morning. I am doing homework, alone, at Wife's brother's house. Wife's brother and his girlfriend have taken the kids to go play with some cousins, and drop Wife off at the doctor's office. Yes, the doctor's office. She fell last night and may have broken her arm....or at least caused some very painful soft tissue damage. OUCH! Not much sleep for us last night. Poor Wife. Stay tuned on my blog or Wife's for details....probably not until tomorrow or Monday.

I have a lot of homework. I guess that's what happens when you sign up for 12 credits in one semester and one class meets 3 times per week. As finals approach I wish that I had the skills of an IBM memory, but alas, I am simply human. Therefore, I must get back to reading about Section 404 permits of the Clean Water Act. Jealous?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bed, Breakfast and Other Ramblings

Doesn't a romantic Bed and Breakfast sound nice? We are staying with Wife's brother and his girlfriend this weekend. We have the whole basement to ourselves. They made breakfast for us. That is sort of like a bed and breakfast. I bet without the kids it would be really relaxing. The bed's comfy, there's a great TV and a beautiful view of water and mountains. Yup....without the kids there would be definite potential here for relaxation. Did I mention the hot tub?

Ah, the kids are awfully cute though. They are having a great time on their uncle's trampoline, playing with Legos, going up and down the stairs (we don't have stairs in our house) and playing hide and seek in their big house.

Tomorrow Wife and brother's girlfriend will go shopping for a bit. I'll hang with the kids, and we'll all do something together in the afternoon. Saturday will be study day for me. We'll head home Sunday, and then it's back to work and school on Monday.

Wow - this is a really boring entry, isn't it? I clearly should stop trying to post and go watch Gray's Anatomy. Wife wants the laptop anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving!

OK - so this message should have been done earlier, maybe even a day or so ago. Still, it is the thought that counts and I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have had a nice day with Wife's brother, his girlfriend, her Mom and Dad, and eventually another brother and his girlfriend. Good food. Kids were not too out of control. Unlike the stories I am fairly certain I may hear of when I return to work, it was not a redneck Thankgiving - no beer, no vats of oil, no fixing up old cars, no talk of guns, no ex-wifes making scenes showing up in really was totally civilized. So, I guess I have nothing that stimulating to share.

Daughter's favorite was Cool Whip with Cool Whip (no pie) and we have a cute picture of her licking her Cool Whip plate clean.

It's almost time for Gray's Anatomy. Wife, Brother's girlfriend, and I have been looking forward to it since we talked about it last night. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Random Thoughts for a Tuesday

I just wanted to say how happy I am that I don't have to balance my checking account. Wife does that for us and always has. In fact, it's safe to say that I haven't had to worry about it in ummm...14 years. I wonder if I even know how to do it anymore. I used to balance my account every month and somehow, once we merged our financial life, it fell by default to Wife. Maybe it was one of those things that was more important to her than to me. Or maybe it's because I took over all the outside chores like mowing the lawn and weeding the gardens and she took over the inside chores.

Whatever the reason, I think I should tell her how grateful I am that she watches over this part of our life.

Thanks, Wife! You rock!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Think I Live There

My Wife asked me this morning if I still live in our home.

"Part time" was my answer.

Last night my energy law class got out at 9:20. I am usually home by 10:00, unless I stay after to ask questions. Last night was one of those nights. I needed a bit of clarification on a few points for a paper I am working on for another class. It was 10:00 before I even walked out of the classroom. I am glad I stayed, and the prof. rocks for sticking around so long. Still, It was about 10:40 when I got home. Wife was already asleep, having been up since very early with Cranky Girl With Cold. We did not even get to say "hi" to each other in person all day long.

Yesterday I was called by someone wanting to do blood tests and such because I am increasing my life insurance through work.

"I can come to your home."

*hysterical laughter on my part* "I'm never there."

She laughs. I explain I am serious.

"It will be better for you to come to where I work."

Also, I won't be needing any home delivery, home gyms, or home cooking for the next few weeks.

Wait. Stop. I DO need home cooking. THAT I can easily take to work and school! *grin*

Very Busy Thursday

Dang - I think I have let a Random Thursday pass me by without strange and random thoughts flooding my mind, begging to be blogged. It has been a busy day! Lots of odds and ends at work, a Women's Law Caucus Faculty Round Table at lunch, back to more fairly interesting projects at work, then study time! As a break during study time, I ate a sandwich while walking to my car to move it closer for when it is time to go home. I've noticed something. There must be a lot of birds above where I park. I think I need car covers, if you know what I mean. Oh, well, it's dark, I'm tired, I don't really care that much tonight. Besides, the rain will soon wash all the evidence away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Stephen King Movie - The Mist

I am a HUGE Stephen King fan. I've been reading his novels for years. He is my all time favorite author. Does that make me shallow, a product of my generation, not a true lover of literature? Maybe yes to all, but hey, I know what I enjoy and Stephen King can tell a story. He doesn't do it in a pretentious manner, he doesn't try to impress with big words and flowery visuals, and he has the talent of being able to really relate to readers. His words find their way into a person's being and connect with some essential bit of humanity, usually a deep fear, and then he plays on that fear, that humanity, in an expert manner. Brilliant!

If I had to pick a favorite Stephen King book...well...I'm not sure I could choose. The Stand - a classic good versus evil story - is certainly among my top choices. The Green Mile, about a death row warden, made both a good book (serialized novel, actually)and a powerful movie. Who doesn't like Tom Hanks in just about anything he's done, right? Oh, and the short story, The Body, essentially a coming-of-age story, released as a movie, Stand by Me, is just plain good story-telling.

I will be the first to admit that it is rare for Stephen King's works to be as powerful on screen as in print. Part of their power comes from what one's own imagination conjures up, what is just below the surface, how the words play on a person's own fears. The screen version has to be more visual and less subtle. Still, sometimes it works, and with better special effects being created all the time, it is always tempting to see what the next Stephen King movie will be like.

The latest, The Mist by Stephen King, opens on November 21st. It looks dark, frightening, and truthfully, now that I have children, disturbing to watch. The fears, the things that go bump in the night, are more real as a parent. Still, like a train wreck, the story calls, and I am tempted to see what this one will be like.

The synopsis reveals this to be about a man and his son trapped in a grocery store with many other people as a mysterious mist envelops their town. Of course, this is not a pleasant fog, it is a deep mist with evil things lurking in it. The interesting aspect to the story though, the humanity element, is the question of which is more frightening, the things in the mist or the humans that are taking sides, panicking and revealing themselves to be more monstrous than anyone had imagined.

The Mist was originally a short story in a compilation called Skeleton Crew. Like a bad dream that haunts, I vaguely remember reading it many, many years ago. I'm sure it was disturbing. I'm sure the movie will be, too. That doesn't mean it won't be good. It means Stephen King, and those that brought this story to life, are doing their jobs, helping us face our fears and consider our priorities.

You can check out scenes ane more at:


What is it that law students are best at?
Public debate?
Writing well researched documents?

No. I think most of us will agree it is PROCRASTINATION! We put off the things we know we must do in an effort to avoid/deny how much there is to accomplish. I've mentioned before, a law student's home is never as clean as right before finals. I am getting ahead of myself though. It is not finals time, yet. It is pre-finals time.

Yesterday, as I mentioned I would, I created a list of thing to do and put them on a schedule. I have already been able to cross some things off and feel more in control. Excellent. Now, before I get too much accomplished, I should blog. Great procrastination technique, don't you agree?

Custom Holiday Cards

Now that we have kids, we send out photo Christmas cards each year. You know the ones where the family all dresses alike and poses? That would be us! Well, we often use our annual family picture, or simply another good picture that has been taken recently. We don't go out and take a picture JUST for the cards. Wait....sometimes we do. OK - never mind - I was getting to a point. What was it? Oh, right -

Many of you have probably heard of We've used them before to buy business cards, custom sticky notes and the like. (They tend to have great free give aways and half-price specials.) Anyway, their custom-printed products are very nice, professional looking and reasonably priced, which is why we have used them before.

I just found out that they have a nice selection of Holiday Cards, both ones you can add your own photo to, and ones you can just customize with your own sentiment and/or name. They are having a special now where you can get 50 custom cards folded cards for $30 - or postcard style 50 for $12. Hmmm..I better let Wife know...that price even beats the local mega-chain where we have had our cards printed before. The selection is really good, but you may have to click around a bit and get familiar with their options in order to access them. Fun!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pre-Crunch Time for a Law School Mama

Good morning! It was a really good weekend, and even included a movie date with my Wife yesterday afternoon. We went to see Martian Child, and both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Today, however, I see I am really down to the wire with school and am starting to get that panicky-can't-quite-breathe, oh-crap-how-will-I-ever-get-this-all-done? feeling. I have a 25-ish page paper due, but would like to still get some feedback before handing in the final version, which probably means finalizing it during the exam period. Nice. I have way more notes than ever in 2 of my classes, making the outlining/refining process a nightmare. Especially in the one that I don't have a great grasp on anyway. *breathe* I have to do a presentation on my paper topic for seminar next week. We have to do a 4-hour drive and be gone all of Thanksgiving weekend....4 hours there, 4 hours back. That is 8 hours of study time...ticking away.....still, family commitments are important. I will have to make time over the weekend to study, because I still have all the regular homework to do for the next week.


I am making up a schedule to take advantage of lunch times, time before and between classes, and I know I will figure it all out. Yes. That's it. I've done it before. Others are doing it. It is do-able. Yes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Kind of Mom Are You?

Wife found a simple "What Kind of Mom are you Test".

Here are my results:

ENTP —The “Independence” Mother

Full of energy and confident in her own self-sufficiency and competence, the ENTP mother encourages her children—as a role model and as a teacher—to be independent and confident on their own in the world.

A “big picture” person, she points out options and possibilities along the way. Objective and logical as well, the ENTP wants her children to evaluate their choices and learn from the consequences of their own decisions.

The ENTP mother is resourceful and action-oriented. She likes going places and doing things with her children, exploring all that life has to offer. She is less concerned with rules, routines, and schedules. Introducing her children to new concepts and activities, challenging them, and stimulating their intellectual development are top priorities.
That sounds about right and is consistent with my Myers-Briggs Personality Type. Well, I am a pretty consistent INTP, but seem to go towards the extroverted side with my kids. I am guessing that is because I have so much alone time during most of my days.

Interestingly, I switched one of my answers so I got the results for an INTP mom, and this may be even closer:

Your type is: INTP —The “Love of Learning” Mother

Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.

The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.

Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.

Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her.


Happy Random Thursday

It's cold and foggy. In fact, there is a fog advisory flashing on the taskbar for the Weather Channel on my screen. Frost has begun to form on my windshield in the morning. I think I've been spoiled by the warm, sunny weather lately. I'm not ready for the cold. I am a weather wimp.

Wife and kids came to work to visit me and have lunch yesterday after they'd been to Build-A-Bear Workshop. Big day for them! It was fun to see them and introduce them to my co-workers who had not met them yet, and ones who couldn't believe how big they are getting.

Did I mention that I won another scholarship? I found out last week that I won our school's energy law scholarship. I have no idea if they give out more than one or what the competition was like, but hey - I'm happy! I bring this up on Random Thursday because I was thinking back to last night and how I promised a classmate I would stop giving her grief over dropping our energy law class because it was most likely to my benefit that she was not able to compete for the scholarship. So, I have agreed to fully support her in anything she doesn't want to follow through on as it may later benefit me :) (I know, self-centered, but she does get the benefit of me not hassling her, so really, it is a win-win situation!)

OK - anyone have any awesome recipes for sneaking veggies into kid's food (or adult's food)? Let's just say our whole family is not doing great in the vegetable department, and we have very little time for cooking. I think if Wife has to continue feeding the kids pasta and grilled cheese (all they will eat it seems) for much longer, she will lose her mind. Boy Wonder does OK on fruit, but we can't even get Baby Girl to eat that. "Me no like that," said with great distaste, is a common phrase in our household. Oh, my.

OK - I must go get coffee now. Happy Thursday!

Looking for Shopping Cart Software?

So many business opportunities, so little time! If you are interested in starting your own on-line business, what kinds of things should you consider? I have a lot of answers to that question but for now, I will focus on one small area - your ecommerce software.

There are a lot of companies offering ecommerce software, or shopping cart capabilities, as some people prefer to call them. One company is - it offers full hosting, shopping cart services, tech support, and more. Even though there are free and low cost services out there, these are rarely easy or work well. The frustration level is not worth it. It is worth paying to have ecommerce services done quickly, easily and correctly. This company offers enough options that everyone from beginners to experts can be satisfied.

I like that Ashop is set up to accept coupons, do gift certificates, and has its own affiliate program built in. As a business owner, these are really valuable features to offer your customers. They also have online movie tutorials, which makes setting up your storefront, and all related features much easier than trying to read it in text format. Considering all the features and services they offer, I would say this is one company worth considering if you are in the market for ecommerce software. As with all major business decisions, don't rush into anything. Do your research and see where it leads.

Note: This is a sponsored review.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Parking Ticket Woes

Yesterday I parked in the faculty/staff parking lot at about 10 minutes before 5:00pm. Non faculty/staff are not supposed to park there until after 5:00pm. I received a ticket marked 16:53. That's right....I got dinged $40 for parking 7 minutes early. I was not happy. There were plenty of empty parking spaces around me. I was not keeping a staff or faculty member from parking in their designated lot. Most are on their way out - not in. I confess to violating the letter of the rule, but not the spirit. I actually believed that there was a grace period this time of night as several of us park 10-15 minutes before 5:00 and have never been ticketed. I think the school should be looking towards supporting the entire community, enforcing rules with the flexibility the situation calls for, and not issuing citations for actions that have caused no harm. I submitted my appeal. We'll see.

Incidentally, I now have to figure out how to delay my arrival at the school until 5:00, but not much later, because the lot fills fast after 5:00 with many of us evening student getting off work at 4:30 or 5:00. Perhaps I could go to the park down the street, waste gas, increase carbon emissions, and read magazines about fiber optic cables, or maybe even something law related. I suspect I will stay at work 5-10 minutes later, get caught in and add to the congestion that worsens every minute after 4:00 (or earlier), all in an effort to ensure I am not in the parking lot prior to 5:00 just in case 10 faculty members suddenly need to park.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Moving Into the Weekend...

So, we are going into our second weekend of a written schedule of the things we will do each day from Friday through Sunday. That way, we all know what errands have to be done and when we will fit them in, and when time for fun is coming up (and if there is something specific planned). The kids both get some special time all to themselves with me since they tend to act out a lot to get my attention and definitely compete for my time. The Boy really looked forward to this last weekend...though he did try to short change his sister by calling some all together play time her special time. Nice try, buddy! I think this more structured time is really important for my schedule-oriented family. It also makes it easier to see what will be realistic to pack into our short time together.

Hope you all have some special time with your families and/or friends this weekend!

Hey - special shout out to Nikk - Happy Moving Weekend! You know I'd be there to help if we lived closer.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random Thursday

Don't you hate it when your coffee is too hot to drink?
I am on my second cup. Well, really 1.5. I was halfway through the first cup and it was cold, so I went to heat it up, and noticed there was more in the pot so topped off my cup before putting it in the microwave. It's been sitting now for about 10 minutes. Still can't touch it. Note to self: 30 seconds is too long if half of the coffee is fresh out of the pot.

I am a little scared and a lot bothered that there were already a ton of Christmas decorations out in the stores prior to Halloween. I was thinking we could maybe get some half-priced costumes for the kids to play dress-up in at the sales today. Since there were already almost no Halloween things left in stores before Halloween, I have a feeling that ship has sailed.

What do these things have in common?
- a pearl necklace
- a pirate sword
- a pink sunhat

You can make up your own answer to this riddle, of course, but these are typical things Baby Girl will use for playing dress up. Guess I won't worry too much about "real" Halloween costumes. The more imagination, the better!

Coffee's still too hot. Burned my tongue. Damn.
What a Halloween! I spend most of the day doing party-prep, socializing and clean-up for a Halloween potluck at work. I was already exhausted before we'd even gotten to the evening's main event - taking the kids out trick or treating. I got home around dinner time (opting to skip my classes - parents have to make priorities), and the kids were already bouncing off the walls. We quickly dispensed with dinner, had a bit of a struggle over getting costumes on, and were finally on the way out the door, heading first to Grandma's and Grandpa's house, and then to do the door-to-door thing in my sister's neighborhood. Once we finally got outside, the kids had such a great time, and we did too!

Here are a couple pictures. If you regularly check Wife's blog, you may have already seen these:

For Those Interested in Flooring

This is sort of interesting. I don't think about flooring much, at least not as much as I did when we had a cat that liked to urinate under the beds. Apparently some manufacturers of hardwood flooring are trying to convince customers that buying online is a bad idea. An online company, iFLOOR, is putting some bucks into reassuring customers that is not the case. Interested in flooring - you might want to check out this press release as a way to start thinking about some issues you may not have considered previously.

iFLOOR, America's largest online flooring retailer, today announced a $1,000,000 limited warranty designed to protect its customers from predatory manufacturer policies that exclude warranty coverage from online purchases.

The policy, which goes into effect immediately, offers up to one million dollars of coverage in the event that a customer's warranty claim is denied specifically because they made their purchase online. It is complimentary for every iFLOOR customer, and protects the buyer under the same terms as the original product warranty.

iFLOOR, Inc. CEO, Steve Simonson, came up with the program to combat "scare tactics" used by manufacturers of hardwood floors and laminate flooring. "Their idea is to discourage you from buying at a discount!" wrote Simonson in his blog "It's About Flooring". "This is not right! You deserve to save money! So we're going to take care of this problem once and for all."

And it would appear that federal law is on his side. Section 108 of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Act, states that, "In general, tie-in sales provisions are not allowed. Such a provision would require a purchaser of the warranted product to buy an item or service from a particular company to use with the warranted product in order to be eligible to receive a remedy under the warranty."

Under iFLOOR's new warranty, a key provision allows for iFLOOR to "seek justice" on behalf of the customer in the event of legal action. According to Simonson, "I'm putting iFLOOR's money where my mouth is."

About iFLOOR, Inc.
Since 1998, has been the leading online and retail flooring company, with 36 local retail stores nationwide offering more than 70,000 products, including hardwood floors, laminate flooring, bamboo flooring and cork floors. is the largest online flooring retailer according to Internet Retailer Magazine, and was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States for the past three years. Committed to quality customer service, superior selection and friendly expert advice, enables customers to buy flooring both online and in its retail stores at a substantial savings over traditional retailers. For more information about iFLOOR, please visit